...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mixin' it up

I am all about thrift.

Living on a school teacher's salary is not always easy, but it is a great motivator when it comes to saving our pennies.

And so, we do what we can to trim expenses when we can.

One of the things we do to save dollars is we make our own dry mixes to use in the kitchen whenever we can (as an added bonus this also means I know everything that is in these mixes so we don't have weird add ins and preservatives).

For example, our family is a pretty heavy ranch dressing crew.  Everyone uses it on salad (which we eat often) but some members of our household (cough cough Josh and Aubrey cough) put ranch on almost everything...like hot dogs and tacos and eggs and pizza etc etc.

Anyway, because of that we go through a lot of ranch dressing mix and man that stuff gets costly.  So I decided to learn to make my own ranch mix.

You would think this would be easy, but sadly, I live with a ranch snob (defined as someone who is not satisfied with any old ranch dressing, someone who is picky about his ranch).  So, I tried several versions of dry mix until I finally found one that worked for us, and here it is.

Ranch Dressing Dry Mix:
1/3 cup dry buttermilk or powdered milk (we use Morning Moos dry milk)
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 Tsp dill
2 tsp garlic pdr
2 tsp onion pdr
2 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp Kosher salt
10 Club crackers (Ritz crackers work ok too)...this helps act as a thickener

I put all the ingredients into my food processor and run it until everything is smooth then store it for later use.  Blend 3 Tbsp of the mix with 3/4 cup milk and 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise (going a little heavier on the mayo helps to keep our ranch thicker instead of being runny).  We really like this one.  It works great for our family and I can make an entire batch of mix for much much less than purchasing Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix.

We also make our own taco seasoning rather than buying packets at the store.  We like this version.

Taco Seasoning Dry Mix:
4 Tbsp chili pdr
1 tsp garlic pdr
1 tsp onion pdr
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
6 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper

With this combination, add 3 Tbsp of the mix to 1 lb hamburger for flavoring.

These mixes work great in our house and save us little bits of money at a time, which adds up nicely over the months.  I do love to save a few pennies.

What are your great money saving tips?  I'd love to learn something new.

1 comment:

Jen said...

This is Wendy's sister; I pop over here from time to time and stalk your blog :)

We have much in common with the multiple kiddos, bargain hunting and teacher salary. I have tried a few dry mixes in the past and not been real satisfied. I'm going to try these now that I have your recommendation!

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